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I guess "crack my jaded shell a bit" humorously means "hurt my precious brain a bit". Am I on the right track? Searching the phrase turned out to be returning back the NYTimes article.

So far, so predictable. But speaking as a cynical observer of the Trump era, one feature of November did crack my jaded shell a bit: not his behavior or the system’s response, but the sheer scale of the belief among conservatives that the election was really stolen, measured not just in polling data but in conversations and arguments, online and in person, with people I would not have expected to embrace it.

Source: NYTimes

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To be jaded is to lack excitement and energy, usually due to having experienced something so many times that it's starting to bore you. In this case, it refers to the author being tired of following and analyzing Donald Trump and conservatives' antics.

To crack someone's shell is to open someone up and prevent them from isolating themselves.

In my interpretation, the author meant that before November they've been tired of the actions of Trump administration, and approaching it with a cynical disinterest - but the November events have changed that approach and sparked the author's interest.

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  • Thank you. In the OP there is a phrase "with people I would not have expected to embrace it." Does it mean "with people I would not have expected that they (the people) have embraced it"?
    – NewPlanet
    Dec 7 '20 at 11:50
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    @NewPlanet Yes, pretty much exactly that. Dec 7 '20 at 11:51
  • "Jaded" from a verb "to jade" and a noun "a jade" has a very surprising and mysterious etymology. It's unrelated to the name of the stone.
    – James K
    Dec 7 '20 at 20:24

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